Feet First endorses the proposed reconfiguration of West Nickerson Street to three lanes of traffic, with improved pedestrian crossings at three locations. This project has been discussed for over two years, it is now time to make Nickerson a safer place for people to walk.
An excerpt from the letter we sent to Seattle City Council:
We have examined the existing conditions along this corridor, and have identified several safety concerns. The western end of the roadway around 12th Avenue West and 13th Avenue West is particularly troublesome. The broad sweeping curve approaching 15th Avenue West has poor sight distance, creating a serious safety hazard for people trying to cross. This hazard is compounded by the fact that there is no sidewalk along the south side of West Nickerson Street between 1000 and 12th Avenue W. As a result, people living in the apartments and condos along this side of Nickerson east of 1000 wanting to walk westward must cross Nickerson twice, including once at the dangerous western end of the roadway. There are also a pair of transit stops at 6th Avenue West and 8th Avenue West that lack adequate crossings for people trying to access the bus.
. . .Feet First understands transportation decisions must balance the needs of all users. There are many locations where traffic volumes on four-lane arterials are simply too high to sustain a conversion to three lanes. However, according to Seattle Department of Transportation engineers this is not the case on West Nickerson Street. They have studied this corridor and have made a professional determination that no significant traffic delays will result from a conversion to three lanes. It is understandable that many critics of four-to-three lane conversions are concerned that the removal of one through lane in each direction may cause major traffic delays. However, we have never seen any technical analysis by qualified transportation professionals verifying this concern neither for such lane conversions in general or for the West Nickerson Street proposal in particular. If such analysis exists, it is incumbent upon critics of the West Nickerson Street proposal to produce this evidence so that the city council can weigh it against SDOT’s analysis supporting it. However, if such evidence is not forthcoming, we see no valid reason for the City Council to prevent implementation of the West Nickerson Street proposal. Even in the unlikely event that SDOT engineers are mistaken and that this proposal causes major transportation problems along the West Nickerson Street corridor, it would be a fairly simple matter to return the corridor to four lanes. The recently enacted Pedestrian Master Plan enunciates the goal of making Seattle the most walkable city in the nation. This is a very laudable ambition, but as the saying goes actions speak louder than words. Feet First looks upon the City Council’s decision regarding the Nickerson Street lane conversion as a test of how serious they truly are about improving the pedestrian environment in Seattle. This is a decision that should be based on sound technical analysis prepared by qualified professionals. All the evidence we have seen to date demonstrates that the proposed conversion of West Nickerson Street to three lanes will provide a safer facility with no significant deterioration of traffic conditions.
We call upon the City Council to support this proposal.
Read the entire letter.
Attend the upcoming Seattle Transportation Committee MeetingTuesday, June 8, 20109:30am-11:00amSeattle City Hall600 4th Ave, Seattle
Contact Seattle Councilhttp://www.seattle.gov/council/